I read FIRSTLIFE by Gena Showalter last year and I loved it, so when I had the chance to read the sequel, LIFEBLOOD, I was beyond ecstatic! I’ve loved so many of Showalter’s books so far, including ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND and the rest of the books in the White Rabbit Chronicles. Showalter is an amazing storyteller, and LIFEBLOOD does not disappoint.
FIRSTLIFE introduces this alternate reality which takes place in the near future. Everyone lives a Firstlife here on Earth, and then once they die, they go on to their Secondlife, which is basically immortality. In your Firstlife, two disparate afterlives try to recruit you, and you have to choose between Troika or Myriad --- if you don’t, you end up in Many Ends, which is essentially Hell. The system seems like it is set in stone, but some discoveries in book one make our narrator, Ten, start to question this.
"LIFEBLOOD was an amazing book. I enjoyed it immensely, and can’t wait for the final book in the series!"
Ten is an amazing main character. She has a slight obsession with numbers, and is super intelligent. The fact that in her Firstlife, she refused to join Myriad like her parents wanted her to makes it so she starts out the series in an insane asylum. Her experiences, both in the asylum and beforehand, really shape Ten and her personality.
By the end of FIRSTLIFE, Ten has fallen in love with Archer, who is from Myriad. The problem, however, is that Ten does not want to go to Myriad. At the very end of book one, Ten dies, and pledges herself to Troika. LIFEBLOOD starts immediately after that. Ten is in a state of shock, and her soul is still stuck in her body. Eventually Ten is taken to Troika, and that’s when the story really begins.
Ten loves Troika. For one, she gets to see her baby brother, who died soon after he was born. She is finally trained to use her abilities, which she can only fully access after death. Ten begins to flourish, although she misses Archer --- but don’t worry, they won’t be separated for long.
LIFEBLOOD is incredibly fast-paced. Once I started it, I devoured the book. It’s a fast read with nearly infinite twists and turns. Some of the plot twists I suspected, but many I didn’t. It’s fun to be surprised, especially when it’s a happy surprise.
One part of the book left a slight sour taste in my mouth, mostly because something was unexplained. In the afterlives, there are orphanages for people that die as infants. They then grow up, and choose a place to live permanently at 16. But Archer died in the womb, when his mother was in a car crash. It’s never specified how far along she was. It makes me wonder when a soul enters a body in this universe. Is it at conception, heartbeat, eight months, nine? I’m hoping the question is answered in the next book, but it makes me curious.
LIFEBLOOD was an amazing book. I enjoyed it immensely, and can’t wait for the final book in the series!
Reviewed by Isabel C., Teen Board Member on March 15, 2017